Without community, there is no liberation…but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.
We were made for this moment.
Today, I want us to remember how strong we are. We know in our hearts and in the data that there are more people who support abortion than those who do not. Everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion. Do not let today’s decision erase the reality that we’ve been at this for decades, we are organized, and we are not going back fifty years. We are going forward together. We have built a California readying itself to become an abortion sanctuary; a reproductive freedom state nourished by the relationships and infrastructure of decades of BIPOC-led organizing. Alongside these same BIPOC women and gender expansive folks, we can and will build what comes next.
We know what to do right now and we have what we need. We have spent decades in California creating and nurturing and investing in a reproductive justice movement led by BIPOC women and gender expansive folks who saw Roe for what it was – a floor. Yes, it is painful and distressing to have the same floor ripped out from under you. If you are crying or raging or feeling deeply about this loss, you are not alone. And we must dry our eyes, support each other, and organize, because we want more than a floor. We always wanted more than that; our communities need and deserve more than a floor. We want the house that justice and liberation built. We want a house, a state, a country where bodily autonomy is bolstered by health, safety, and prosperity for all of us.
We center the experience of those closest to the problem. We invest in BIPOC leaders who are building towards liberation and advancing reproductive justice. Investing in BIPOC-led reproductive justice organizations in California and beyond is part of how we build that house. Part of what sets reproductive justice apart as a strategy is that it is about organizing, investing in, and supporting community-led solutions. Reproductive justice encompasses not just pregnancy and birth (and, of course, the power to plan and continue, or terminate, a pregnancy), but recognizes the intersections between housing, schooling, and building safe and thriving communities for our families. This affects everyone and we are not all having the same experience. We know BIPOC communities, immigrants, folks struggling to make ends meet, and those already struggling to receive gender-affirming care, are more severely impacted by this loss.
Overturning the constitutional right to an abortion means something different now in California than it did decades ago because of the work, vision, and values of organizations like Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and ACCESS Reproductive Justice. By prioritizing organizations like these with a reproductive justice approach, Women’s Foundation California supported power building that made abortion pills accessible on every college campus in the state with SB24. We built coalitions that made doulas part of how we support Black maternal health with the Momnibus bill. We have and will continue to invest in folks who are taking an intersectional approach and working towards liberation.
California’s distinctive reproductive justice landscape is the result of tireless community organizing that is reinforced by how we show up at the polls, cast our ballots, and engage in our democracy. We have built real power and we will grow that power to create a state that reflects who we are and what we care about. It is why we have senators like Toni Atkins weighing in on the Future of Abortion and plans for a state bill to create a travel fund to aid out-of-state folks with abortion care and needed travel expenses, translators, and childcare. While we build power in California, we will continue to support organizations, movements, and people in other states who face attacks on our democracy that work to silence BIPOC people and communities.
We have a way forward. We’re going to continue to invest in organizations and organizers who represent the majority of what California is and can be – Black and Latinx, immigrant, Indigenous, AAPI, and gender expansive leaders. We have invested in them, we will continue to invest in them now and for the long haul.
We are interconnected and so are our struggles. This isn’t impacting just people who have abortions or who might need or want an abortion in the future, the lack of access to abortion and the erosion of our bodily autonomy impacts everyone. As Indigenous scholar and organizer Lilla Watson noted, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Our collective liberation is just that: collective. While we certainly don’t have all the answers, we want to share three clear ways that we can and will continue to advance towards our collective liberation in a way that ensures reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, and abortion access.
- Liberation is something we do in community. We gathered together on July 11th to link arms virtually and mobilize our collective resources for California’s Reproductive Justice Future. Check out our recording.
- California is different partly because we have invested in decades of leadership development across the state, especially within the reproductive justice movement. You can develop your own policy prowess (or encourage someone else to) by filling out an application to our Solis Policy Institute. We are currently accepting applications for our state policy fellowship.
- We need to invest in the world we want with our dollars, our time, our big visions, and our small acts. In addition to supporting Women’s Foundation California directly, we encourage you to donate to any of our phenomenal grant partner organizations.
As we grapple with this moment, we are holding the past, the present, and the future. We are honoring the incredible legacy of people who have struggled for decades to protect our bodily autonomy and build reproductive freedom. We are reflecting on the egregious mistakes and missteps that are part of the history of reproductive rights with deep roots in racism and White supremacy. We are buoyed by the power of reproductive justice organizations and organizers in California and beyond.
Together, we can meet this moment and get to where we truly need to go. We expect something better for ourselves, for each other, and for the generations, we are building this new world for and with. We know a community-rooted, intersectional feminist approach is how we are going to get to the future we envision and need.